People say that a dog is man’s best friend, and you have most likely found this to be true many times, from your dogs empathizing with you, to protecting and comforting you, and to the part you most likely despise, your dog ailing just the same way you do.
Your dog having a runny nose is definitely on your hate list, but it is a natural phenomenon, just as it is for you. There might be no cause for concern because healthy dogs may get runny noses periodically, but when it is frequent or the consistency is unusual, you might have to worry.
Continue reading the article to discover other reasons your dog might have a runny nose and corresponding treatments for those causes.
Why Does My Dog Have a Runny Nose?
Your dog having a runny nose might be a bit strange to you, but it is a pretty normal occurrence. Some dogs are even more predisposed to runny noses than others. Such dogs include – Shih Tzus, Pugs, French bulldogs, and other brachycephalic breeds.
This is mainly because these breeds have flat faces or soft, floppy, and sensitive nose cartilages. In unique cases like this, you might not need to worry about a runny nose that is majorly due to your dog’s build. However, if that is not the case, then your dog may have a runny nose because of something as simple as nervousness to something as severe as a tumor.
Consequently, determining the cause is the first step to getting your pet the help it needs.
Causes And Treatments For Your Dog’s Runny Nose
As a dog owner, you can quickly fix mild causes at home, while severe ones will require a vet visit. Find below the most common causes of a runny nose, starting from the mildest to the most serious ones.
Your dog may experience nasal discharge when it is emotionally high-strung or nervous. In cases like this, you have nothing to worry about as you can remedy this situation by calming your dog down. However, if it lasts for several hours, there might be cause for concern.
Your dog might simply be sweating through his nose (yes, you read that right) when you think it has a nasal discharge. This is because dogs, unlike us, are covered in fur and can only sweat through parts of their body that do not have fur –the pads of their paws and sometimes through their nose.
A runny nose due to heat maintains a clear and watery/ thin consistency, and the remedy is to cool your dog down by moving it to a cool area or ensuring it is hydrated.
Dogs may be allergic to food, mites, chemicals, spores, pollen, drugs, environmental allergens, and even human skin. Consequently, allergies may occur with other symptoms like itching, red/swollen eyes, sneezing, coughing, nosebleeds, discharge from the eyes and nose, and issues with digestion and breathing.
There are different types of allergies, which may also be seasonal or a sign of a more severe ailment. If your dog’s discharge is watery and clear, it indicates mild irritation.
Most allergies are mild and easily treatable, but it can be difficult to tell the allergen affecting your dog. If you can identify the allergen, you simply have to eliminate it. Still, if you cannot, your dog must take an allergy test and get prescriptions for antihistamines or other allergy medicines to clear up the discharge.
Foreign Objects in the Nasal Passage
Foreign objects could be grass, seeds, mite, wood splinters, etc. It may get into the nasal tract and other related parts through your dog sniffing around.
You may have noticed your dog pawing at its nose, sneezing, and experiencing nose bleeds. This might be because of a foreign object. As such, if you can quickly locate it, you should contact your vet so that they may prevent or treat any infection that may have ensued.
Infections may be bacterial, fungal, parasitic, or viral. Infections are usually located in your dog’s sinuses, lungs, or respiratory tract. Regardless of the type, it would help if you visited the vet.
The critical difference is noting the texture of the nasal discharge before deciding on a visit. The thick, smelly, colored bloody ones could point to an infection and are a cause for worry.
The treatment of infections is up to the vet, but antibiotics are typically used to combat bacterial infections, while antifungal drugs are for severe fungal infections and anti-parasitic for parasitic ones.
Viral infections are a bit different because it is up to the body and immune system to combat them; the only way to help your dog get better is to boost its immunity. In severe cases, your dog may also need surgery.
Cleft Palate/ Fistula
A cleft palate is when the two sides of your dog’s palate don’t fuse. The fistula (oral-nasal fistula) is a hole between the nose and the mouth. Either of these openings can cause nasal discharge, especially after eating.
So, if your dog gets a discharge after eating, it is most likely because of a fistula. A fistula might be caused by decay, injury, or infection in the mouth/teeth. The typical treatment for cleft palates and oral-nasal fistulas is surgery.
The most severe cause of a nasal discharge is a tumor or polyp in the nasal passage. These growths may be minuscule enough to go unnoticed or significant enough to cause breathing problems for your dog.
Blood in the mucus might be the first sign of nasal polyps (overgrown mucus-producing glands) or nasal tumors. Other symptoms include facial deformities, digestive problems, or neurologic breakdowns.
Like most serious cases, a diagnosis can only be made by a vet. Treatment for benign tumors typically involves surgery, while malignant ones involve chemotherapy since surgery is rarely successful.